Bash for Shirley the Elephant Saturday - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

Bash for Shirley the Elephant Saturday

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The Ouachita Public Library's main branch on Stubbs Avenue in Monroe will host a party for Shirley the Elephant's sixth-fifth birth on Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm. 

Solomon James, the long-time caregiver of Shirley, will attend the birthday party for Shirley. James will be sharing stories of Shirley's life at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo and his interactions with the famed elephant.   Mr. James took care of Shirley for over two decades and was the one who was there to unchain Shirley for her move to the Elephant Sanctuary.  "I don't know who put the chains on her, " says James, " But, I am glad I was the one who took them off."

The party will include entertainment by Mary Helen Blanchard, author of Shirley's Story, the Heart Always Remembers.  Birthday cake and ice cream will be served, and a documentary featuring Shirley, The Urban Elephant, will be screened.

Shirley the Elephant spent twenty-three years at Monroe's Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, where she became a favorite of many zoo visitors.  Shirley has led an amazing life; she survived the circus, a serious leg injury, a ship fire, and was even held hostage by Fidel Castro for several weeks.  In 1999, she was moved from the Monroe zoo and retired to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.  Upon arrival, Shirley was reunited with Jenny, a special friend from her past.

For more information about Shirley, visit


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